Government faces suit over Addicks and Barker dam releases

1 Houston

Houston News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search

A group of flooded-out Harris County homeowners and businesses sued the federal government Tuesday, saying the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers knowingly condemned their properties when the agency released water from Barker and Addicks reservoirs after Tropical Storm Harvey.

Bryant Banes, a civil attorney whose Heathwood home and his wife’s home business were deluged after the rains subsided, is seeking compensation that could reach into the billions of dollars in what he hopes will become a massive class-action lawsuit that would include compensation for homeowners, building managers and business owners within the area flooded by the controlled releases. The neighborhoods include the areas of Dairy Ashford to Interstate 610, Rummels Creek and Piney Point to Interstate 10 and to Briar Forest and the Beltway.

Banes and his eight-person civil law firm Neel, Hooper & Banes filed the so-called “takings” claim in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., on the grounds that the Army Corps made a willing choice to save some areas after the storm subsided, and now, the homeowners say, the government must pay for the damage it inflicted.


“When they opened up the dams full blast, several hundred homes that were dry and not yet directly impacted by the storm, including mine, got flooded by the Corps’ action,” Banes said.

He is not alleging they made the wrong choice just that the government must pay the consequences. “When they make a choice to flood one area to save another that’s their choice and it’s their responsibility to pay for the consequences,” he said.

Upon learning of the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon, Randall J. Townsend, a spokesman for the Army Corps in the Houston area, said he expected to have a comment later in the day.

Gabrielle Banks covers federal courts for the Houston Chronicle. Follow her on Twitter or send tips to gabrielle.banks@chron.com


1 Houston

Houston News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search


Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Facebooktwitterlinkedinrssyoutube

Leave a Reply